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Roh: Balance of Power Still In Effect

Posted November. 03, 2006 03:01,   


President Roh Moo-hyun stated on November 2, “In the current stage where North Korea has conducted its nuclear test, the military balance on the peninsula is not altered.”

President Roh stated this at a briefing session on drawing foreign investors, held at KOTRA in Yeomgok-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, saying, “It’s true that security threat factors have increased due to the North Korean nuclear test, but we should not exaggerate the issue.”

President Roh’s statement is in conflict with the situation where the peninsular military balance based on traditional weapons has been compromised due to the North’s nuclear test, inviting concerns.

Before this President Roh ignored the common request by the ruling and opposition parties to create an emergency cabinet to manage the emergency situation, carrying on with the foreign security team of his choice on November 1, leading to criticisms that the Cheong Wa Dae’s public opinion response and situation response system is not functioning properly.

President Roh also emphasized that “no value will be placed above peace, and in order to maintain peace on top of the military balance the (peninsular) relations should be good,” and that “peace should be placed foremost when managing the relationship.”

But this statement was also criticized in that the North Korean nuclear test occurred despite the engagement policy towards the North in managing the peninsular relations, and that the perspective was too lax at a time when public opinion calls for the review of the engagement policy.

In addition, the president mentioned how the former president Kim Young-sam called the U.S. president Bill Clinton in 1993 during the first North Korean nuclear threat and responded negatively to the use of force, stating “it was a choice by the Korean president who stated ‘I cannot shake hands with someone who possesses nuclear weapons,’” and added that “presidents in Korea will no longer choose the rupture in talks and worsen the situation.”

On the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, President Roh said, “We plan to start negotiations with the European Union (EU) by next year, and are doing sufficient research to start negotiations with China next year or at a more suitable time.”